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Disney's 101 Dalmatians
by J*Company

If you’re going to launch a production of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, you may as well cast 101 actors in the production! That’s what Director Joey Landwehr did – a charming end to J*Company’s season of Disney that kicked off with a concert by Susan Egan and took audience members through High School Musical, The Jungle Book, Aida, and the current offering.

The stage version begins after all the pups are born to Pongo (Myles Collinson) and Perdita (Michelle Guefen), the two proud parents. Those parents are the pets of newlyweds – the musician Roger (Jordan Friedman) and the artist Anita (Hannah Houts). The ensemble of puppies kick things off with a tail-wagging conga down the aisles, and soon they are settled in their happy home and entertained by a huge wide-screen TV where they watch the adventures of a superhero dog named Thunderbolt and get excited over the Kanine Krunchies commercial and its catchy jingle. When in walks the evil villain – Cruella De Vil. A name that inspires Roger to lead them in a terrific rendition of the Disney hit song.

Megan Phillips stars as the amusing and melodramatically evil and cruel Cruella who just adores Roger and Anita’s new puppies – except the one with no black spots on him, named Spot (Rebecca Penner, who gives a sweet solo about finding My Spot In This World). Cruella doesn’t like Spot because her fur wouldn’t go at all well with the new fur clothing she wants to make with the puppies’ pelts. But when she can’t buy the puppies from her neighbors, she hatches an evil and cruel plan to lure them away with some of their beloved Kanine Krunchies, and using her two bungling henchmen to catch the pups, hold them, and prepare them for becoming parts of her new winter wardrobe (Scott Peterson and Elliot Rappaport, who both get critiqued quite a bit by Cruella as she hits them with their own hats).

Can the puppies be saved? As the Narrators (Celia Tedde, Kelsey Barnhill, Devyn Krevat, and Lindsey Aiello) tell us, things look bleak in The Fur Vault. Pongo and Perdita are going to need help to find and free their pups, and they get a world of help from an ensemble of fun-loving French Poodle can-can girls, Boxers with boxing trunks and gloves on, Chihuahuas with ponchos and sombreros, and Scotties with plaid kilts and one with a bagpipe – all got up in Shulamit Nelson’s fantastic costumes that capture the characters so well and so creatively. It all occurs within Danielle Meister’s clever set that includes two staggered platforms on the sides that look like stacked spots from which the narrators sing, a background of London and the Thames, a blue piano with white musical notes on it, and white spots on the black stage floor over which about 101 other spotted pets scamper about in this cute, little musical adaptation.

The previous movie versions of 101 Dalmatians caused a rush to get Dalmatians as pets, many of whom were soon left with humane societies. In a very nice touch, Joey Landwehr got the San Diego Humane Society involved with their production and ran a slideshow during intermission featuring several adorable photos of current dogs looking for homes, hopefully helping to find a few more pets their spot in this world.

Performed May 8 - 18, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Cruella De Vil: Megan Phillips
Horace: Scott Peterson
Jasper: Elliot Rappaport
Roger: Jordan Friedman
Anita: Hannah Houts
Nanny: Mikayla Stern-Ellis
Pongo: Myles Collinson
Perdita: Michelle Guefen
Spot: Rebecca Penner
Pepper: Marissa Wolfsheimer
Patch: Halle Hoffman
Lucky: Danya Greenberg
Penny: Annie Charlat
Waxie: Keila Ashkenasi
Kathryn: Erin Love
Mike: Nathan Miller
Nate: Mari Hoffman
Ana: Hana Mereminsky
Nancy: Lou Rasse
Jackie: Mikayla Chang
Melissa: Charlotte Scurlock
Sylvia: Gabrielle Scurlock
Monica: Megan Spector
Canine Narr. #1/Wonder Dog Chorus: Celia Tedde
Canine Narr. #2/Wonder Dog Chorus: Kelsey Barnhill
Canine Narr. #3/Wonder Dog Chorus: Devyn Krevat
Canine Narr. #4/Wonder Dog Chorus: Lindsey Aiello
Thunderbolt The Wonder Dog: Maddie Houts
Sergeant Tibbs: Kaydon Shanberger
Policeman: Johnny Javier Evans
Dogcatcher: Paul Holtzman
Whizzer: Brooke Posnock
Dot: Zia Rose

Cameron Chang
Julian Coker
Ryan Hanstings-Echo

Sarah Bonavich
Rachel Friedman
Kate Jensen
Regan Richards

Victoria Celano
Alanna DePinto
Emily Laliotis
Kayla Noddings-Zinola
Jessica Tierney

Mackenzie Bath
Jamie Golub
Morgan Hubers
Jessica Muchnick
Michaela Schenk

Kanine Krunchies TV Puppies:
Johnny Javier Evans
Gabriella Gonzalez
Gabriella Liebowitz
Nathaniel Pick
Brooke Posnock
Zia Rose

Dalmatian Chorus:
Eitan Acks
Rajit Agarwal
Melanie An
Ilanit Arakanchi
Erica Ashkenasi
Katrina Beaven
Talia Berkstein
Lou Blanchard
Allison Blumenfeld
Gabrielle Brukholz
Jennifer Carter
Sophia Cook
Emily Cooke
Daniella Datnow
Jenna De Quesada
Christina Doering
Rebecca Engel
Rebecca Epner
Kyla Esquivel
Johnny Javier Evans
Alex Farfel
Melanie Farfel
Elise Friedman
Sanil Gandhi
Andrew Golub
Gabriella Gonzalez
Andrea Gorodezky
Nicole Gustofson
Andreana Izotov
Layla Jaffe
Michael Kornberg
Rachel Kornberg
Kaleolani Laymon
Madison Leone
Sierra Lieb
Gabriella Liebowitz
Alisa McRee
Leetal Nachassi
Camille Oemcke
Nathaniel Pick
Brooke Posnock
Casandra Ramsey
Faith Robinson
Zia Rose
Megan Sardina
Sydney Schenk
Blue Schroeder
Jessica Shapp
Roxy Shimp
McLain Simpson
Zackary Siperstein
Wilson Tyner

Director: Joey Landwehr
Musical Director: Lorea Herald
Set Designer: Danielle Meister
Lighting Designer: Andrew Miller
Costume Designer: Shulamit Nelson
Sound Designer: Steve Moreen
Stage Manager: Veronica Jensen Chavez


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